Drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and surprise! now we’re at the Hometown of President Bill Clinton. Guess we’re on a new trail 😉 He grew up in this town from grade 2 to graduation of high school.
Hot Springs gets its name from the natural spring water that flows out of the ground at 147 degrees F. During the early 1900s, thousands of people flocked the area to experience the waters’ curative powers. Elaborate bathhouses were built to house the large number of tourists visiting the place for springs and spa treatments. Historic Bathhouse Row is a group of eight architecturally significant bathhouses, of which most were constructed between 1912 and 1923.
We toured The Fordyce Bathhouse, which opened on March 1, 1915. The men definitely enjoyed the better amenities. It was amazing how many athletes at the time, would come here for treatment and hopefully extend their professional sports careers, We didn’t have a chance to take the waters, but we did manage to sample the house specialties at the Superior Microbrewery 🍺🍺
We crossed the Mighty Mississippi once again, and arrived in Memphis, Tennessee! President Andrew Jackson named the city ‘Memphis’ because of his love of Egypt and because it’s position on the Mississippi is similar to Memphis, Egypt’s position on the Nile. We checked in to the Graceland RV Park, which is located conveniently right next door to Graceland and our site is on Teddybear Lane 🥰
The beautiful Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis has a fun tradition that happens everyday at 11:00am and 5:00pm. It all started back in the 1930s when the General Manager of The Peabody returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. He had spent a bit too much time with his good friend, Jack Daniels, and thought it would be funny to place some of his live ducks in the beautiful Peabody fountain. Thus began a Peabody tradition! In 1940, a bellman that was a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March.
The ducks take an elevator ride down from their Penthouse, and run the red carpet into the fountain, and at 5:00pm, they march back to the elevator and head home for the night. It was really cute to watch. Our photos didn’t turn out well and it’s hard to see, but those are ducks running along the red carpet, up the stairs and into the fountain.
This is where the ducks live when they are not in the fountain – it’s on the rooftop deck of the hotel. By the way, the ducks work for 3 months and then are retired to a farm in the country, and new trained ducks are brought in!
Beale Street was fun, with lots of restaurants and live music. The road was all closed off and they’re getting ready for the Beale Street Music Festival, which is the kickoff of a month of festivities citywide, known as Memphis in May. Of course, it starts this upcoming weekend, when we won’t be here! We had a great lunch of smoked pulled pork and ribs – yum 😋 So much music history, the birthplace of Rock and Roll 🎵
We walked down to the Mississippi River to board our Riverboat Paddle-wheeler. Even though it started raining, it was fun to hear the stories from our guide, and see Memphis from the river. The bridges cross over between Arkansas and Tennessee.
We were running short on time and had to make a decision – Sun Studio (where BB King, Johnny Cash, Elvis and many more recorded songs and is known as the birthplace of Rock and Roll), OR, the giant Bass Pro Shop 😎
When the Vancouver Grizzlies became the Memphis Grizzlies, this giant pyramid was their basketball venue. It turned out to be unsuitable, so the Fedex Arena was built for them and this monstrosity sat empty for years. Along came John Morris, thinking it would be a great spot for a really big Bass Pro Shop, Hotel and restaurants! It was amazing! It is the biggest Bass Pro Shop in America. The view of Memphis and Arkansas was beautiful from the skywalk at the top of the pyramid. We even had a good look at the children’s hospital that Danny Thomas started – St. Jude’s. We ended up spending hours in the pyramid and had dinner at the rooftop restaurant.
🎶🎵 I’m going to Graceland, Graceland
I’m going to Graceland 🎶🎵
Love Elvis, Hate Elvis, or don’t even know who Elvis is – we highly recommend a trip to Memphis to tour Graceland! If you toured here more than 2 years ago, come again! There is 200,000 square feet of everything Elvis, not including the mansion and airplanes! We happen to love Elvis, so this was an absolute highlight of our trip 😎 The first dance at our wedding was ‘I Cant Help Falling In Love With You’ (performed by a Ukrainian band!).
We splurged and purchased the Ultimate VIP package, which included our own private guide, front of the line access, viewing (and touching) items the public don’t get to see, and a darn good lunch!
Since we’re big Elvis fans, we’ve seen many documentaries and read several books on him, his family and Graceland, so there weren’t any huge surprises, but it sure was amazing to see everything in person! The house isn’t anything compared to today’s expectations of a mansion, but for the time, it was considered large and it does have an almost cozy feel.
It was great walking through his private plane, The Lisa Marie!
The room of his many cars was fantastic, but of course, seeing the pink Cadillac he purchased for his Mom, Gladys, was really special. That boy sure loved his Mama 🥰
Elvis passed away way too soon, at the age of 42. So many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news on August 16th, 1977.
We enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually spent more time here than we did digging for diamonds! 🤪